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Sustainable Investment: 5 Stocks To Watch



Stock Photography - Candian Coins by KMR photography via Flickr

Investing is a great way to start developing a nest egg for retirement or saving for your children’s college education. Many people struggle with investing, however, because the popular stocks are costly and some leading companies pursue unsustainable business practices that don’t reflect shareholders’ priorities.

Since more individuals are committed to investing based on social values, this can put you in a difficult position if you’re one of them. How can we base our investments on our ethical priorities?

The answer is: Do your homework. There are plenty of publicly traded stocks that are committed to environmentally friendly practices, including big names like Tesla and smaller firms such as Terraform Global.

By researching stocks that emphasize sustainability, you can uncover names that are poised to make a big difference in the world.

Starting Small

For new investors or those of us without a lot of capital, penny stocks are a great way to get started. But don’t be misled: Penny stocks don’t actually sell for a penny.

All stocks priced below $5 are treated as penny stocks relative to the rest of the market. Because of their comparatively low price, these stocks can be unusually lucrative: A small bump in sales could conceivably triple your outlay in just a few days.

This is a great way to turn a profit without risking a lot. One excellent penny stock that’s doing innovative work in sustainable energy is Solazyme (SYZM), traded on the Nasdaq.

Solazyme has a one-year high of $3.52, which makes it a financially accessible stock, and the company specializes in the use of algae to create oil and other biomaterials. That algae could also help turn your greenbacks into gold.

A Little More Than a Penny

Some of the best stocks in the green-energy sector are a little bit above the official penny stocks range, but are still reasonably priced. In this category you’ll find Terraforma Global, which closed out last year at $5.59.

This company is doing impressive work supporting sustainable energy projects in places like Brazil, China, and India. It’s noble and risky work, and the firm is currently benefitting from support by SunEdison.

If you’re willing to accept some volatility in your investments, Terraforma is a solid choice with strong founding principles.

Trina Solar is another company trading at a reasonable price. As of this writing, the stock is selling for about $8.76 per share; and unlike Terraforma, which is committed to risky projects, Trina Solar recently restructured to increase its global presence while also increasing its profits.

It’s also a great time to get in on Trina Solar because many experts agree the stock is undervalued at the moment. You can get in before other investors push up the price to reflect the company’s true value.

Go Big or Go Home

For investors who are ready to go all in on high-performing, sustainably minded operations, big names like First Solar and Tesla qualify.

First Solar is a complex of companies that not only manufacture solar panels, but is also involved in investor-owned utilities and other independent energy undertakings. So it makes sense that the company is trading for more than $45 a share, a substantial investment for most traders.

Tesla is one of the biggest names on the market. If you’re not clear about prices and need a sense of scale, Tesla’s stock is currently trading at around $225 a share, while Apple is valued at only about $97.

The company, which manufactures electric vehicles, has been in the news a lot lately (though not always for positive reasons). If current trends persist and the outfit recovers from the first self-driving car crash — and most believe it will — Tesla could hit sky-high prices in the next few years.

Values-based investing is going to become an even more central investment consideration in the coming years. Thus, anyone currently factoring it into his or her investments is on the cutting edge.

By investing in these companies now, you’ll be positioned to earn hefty dividends as these stocks gain prominence. When it works, being a prescient early adopter is a highly profitable role.



Green Tech Start-Ups: Are they the Future?



Endless innovations are occurring in green companies, reinventing the industries they belong to. Gradually, they are beginning to amass more success and popularity. Consequently, these factors serve as a good indicator for green technology businesses, and their development must begin somewhere.

Green tech start-ups boast a wide array of opportunities for the economy and environment, while boosting recruitment openings with valuable services. While the technology industry is littered with high revenues and competition, the green tech start-ups are the clear sign of a cleaner future.

Fulfilling a Genuine Need

Many tech companies will market themselves as the ultimate tech giants to shift stock and make profit. As they all vie for attention through warped corporate rhetoric, there is only one ethical winner; the start-up green tech company.

Some argue that mainstream tech businesses have grown far too big, branching out into other industries and standing between the consumer and practically everything they do. However, green tech start-ups go beyond the shallow ambitions of a company, answering a call to sincerely help the customer and climate in any way they can. Of course, this is an attractive business model, putting customers at ease as they contribute to a humanitarian cause that is genuine through and through.

After all, empathy is a striking trait to have in business, and green tech start-ups maintain this composure by their very nature and purpose.

Creating Opportunities

Despite the pursuits for clean energy still needing more awareness, green tech is an area that is ripe for contribution and expansion. There’s no need to copy another company or be a business of cheap knockoffs; green tech start-ups can add a new voice to the economy by being fresh, fearless and entrepreneurial.

Technology is at its most useful when it breaks new ground, an awe that eco-friendly innovations have by default in their operations. Of course, green tech start-ups have the chance to build on this foundation and create harmony instead of climate crisis. Ultimately, the tech advancements are what revolutionise clean energy as more than an activist niche, putting theory into practice.

Despite the US gradually becoming more disengaged with green technology, others such as China and Canada recognise the potential in green technology for creating jobs and growth in their respective economies. The slack of others spurs them on, which creates a constant influx of prospects for the green tech sector. Put simply, their services are always required, able to thrive from country to country.

A Fundamental Foresight

Mainstream technology can seem repetitive and dull, tinkering with what has come before rather than turning tech on its head. Since 2011, technology has been accused of stagnation, something which the internet and petty app services seem to disguise in short reaching ideas of creativity.

However, green tech start-ups aren’t just winging it, and operate with a roadmap of climate change in the years ahead to strategize accordingly. In other words, they aren’t simply looking to make a quick profit by sticking to a trend, but have the long-term future in mind. Consequently, the green tech start-up will be there from the very start, building up from the foundational level to only grow as more and more people inevitably go green.

They can additionally forecast their finances too, with the ability to access online platforms despite the differing levels of experience, keeping them in the loop. Consequently, with an eye for the future, green tech startups are the ones who will eventually usher in the new era.

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3 Green Living Tips that Can Slash Your Tax Burden



Over the last couple of weeks, I have discussed the financial benefits of green living. There are a lot of ways that you can cut your personal expenses by living a more sustainable lifestyle. Some of my readers have specifically asked for tips on cutting taxes by going green.

Here are some tips that you should keep in mind. You may qualify for tax credits, a VAT reclaim or simply avoid paying sales taxes by minimizing purchases.

Going green cuts your taxes on gasoline

Gasoline taxes are rising sharply throughout the country. California recently passed a new bill that has raised the state gas tax to 38.2 cents a gallon. Other states are following suit. These taxes are broken up into two parts: an excise tax (a flat fee on every gallon of gasoline) and a sales tax, which varies by price. This means that gas taxes can rise sharply with gasoline prices.

People that drive green vehicles can minimize or even avoid these costs. Keep in mind that the more environmentally friendly your vehicle is, the more you will save on tax credits.

Take advantage of simple green home improvement credits

The federal government offers green tax credits equivalent to 20 to 30% of the cost of green home improvements. There are many ways to qualify for this credit. Most people talk about solar panels, wind turbines and other major changes.

However, you don’t need to renovate your home to be totally green. You can also qualify for these credits by making simple improvements to your home if you use green building materials or contractors. Money Crasher’s Brian Martucci explains that even the interest on loans for these improvements can be claimed as a deduction or credit.

“Federal, state, and local tax credits and other financial incentives partially offset the cost of a slew of green energy and home efficiency projects, helping more homeowners finance them out of their savings or afford the principal and interest payments on FHA 203k renovation loans. Here’s a look at the present lineup of federal tax credits and incentives, plus a representative slice of the hundreds of state and local credits and incentives available today.”

Make sure that you keep documentation of these credits. You do not need to attach them to your return. The IRS explains the rules here.

“Be sure you have the written certification from the manufacturer that their product qualifies for this tax credit. They usually post it on their website or include it with the product’s packaging. You can rely on it to claim the credit, but do not attach it to your return. Keep it with your tax records.”

If you live outside the United States, you may also be able to reclaim VAT for green purchases.

Take advantage of Energy Star products

Products that receive Energy Star certification consume at least 10% less energy than their alternatives. If you purchase any of these products, you may qualify for a tax credit of up to 30% cost of purchase. This credit is worth up to $1500, which is worth more than many VAT reclaim offers.

Need a new car? Look for green vehicles

The federal government also provides incentives for consumers to purchase screen vehicles. The green vehicle tax credit is worth up to $7500.

If you are interested in buying a new vehicle, you could cut your costs sharply. You may pay even less than you paid for a gas guzzler after the credit is factored in. Of course, you will save even more money on gas and fuel taxes over time as well.

Take Advantage of Great Green Living Tax Savings

There are plenty of ways that you can save money by going green. You can even make it easier on Tax Day. Take the time to understand the impact of different taxes and ways that they can be cut by following a more environmentally friendly approach.

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